In Las Vegas at the West Coast Conference Basketball Championships this past weekend, not only did Saint Mary's College make an impact on the basketball court, but it also made an impact on the lives of the youth of Las Vegas.
The Saint Mary's cheer and dance teams, sports band, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) reps, and Director of Athletics Mark Orr participated in the Second Annual WCC Kidz Day powered by Zappos.com on Monday morning prior to the WCC Women's Basketball Championship game. "Being able to be a small part of this community service effort was a privilege for me personally. The commitment to community service aligns directly with the colleges LaSallian mission," said Orr.
Over 500 youth from the Greater Las Vegas After-School All-Stars Program were bussed to the Orleans Arena to attend the game and participate in Kidz Day. The kids from the All-Stars program are kids who come from at risk schools. "We call them our At Hope Kids-kids that kind of deserve a little extra break," said Jackie Locks with the After School All-Stars.
When each bus arrived, they were greeted by the sounds of the SMC Sports Band. Then each kid got in line to receive a brand new pair of shoes courtesy of Zappos.com. A lot of these kids didn't even know their shoe size since many get hand-me-downs from older brothers and sisters.
When it was their turn to get a pair of shoes, each kid was escorted by a volunteer who helped size them and would then help them pick out a pair of shoes. The volunteers from Saint Mary's included Mark Orr and SAAC representatives Ashley Dernbach of women's soccer and Missy White of volleyball. "It was nice to see the benefits of the WCC Shoe Drive put into action. To see the excitement in the eyes and the smiles on the face of each kid as they stepped off the bus made me feel good about our efforts. My favorite part of the day was seeing all of the kids in the stands at the game cheering not for one team but for everything because they were just happy to be there," said White.
Once each kid received their new pair of shoes, they were entertained by the Saint Mary's cheer and dance teams, by playing games and putting on tattoos, while they waited to enter the arena. "It made us all feel good about what we were doing because each kid was so proud of their new shoes. We tend to take things like a brand new pair of shoes for granted, but to these kids it meant the world to them", said dance team captain Alyssa Quam.
Many of the kids were overheard throughout the morning saying that this was the best day of their life.